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February 18th, 2005 - Trickle of Consciousness — LiveJournal
Both of them snarky, about Marvel's May Solicitations:

  • What the hell is Marvel Next? It's apparently not the teen books in general, because all of the books that were there previously (Runaways, Amazing Fantasy, Spellbinders) are all under other groups this time around. It's not the new first issues, since only one of the three new firsts falls under it. Heck, it's not even "New first issues of teen characters," because New X-Men: Hellions #1 is under the X-Men line instead of Next. Like Tsunami before it, MN seems to pretty much be an initiative without initiative from all that I can tell

  • Okay, if Ultimate F&%^ing Adventures gets a trade paperback collection, then I no longer have any misgivings in making a stink to get more original Power Pack collections in print.
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    (From Power Pack #16. Art by June Brigman and Bob Wiacek. Words by Louise Simonson)

    Power Pack has often been compared with Marvel's other noteworthy super-powered family: The Fantastic Four. The analog isn't without merit, of course. Aside from the aforementioned family aspect, these are both groups whose powers came from unanticipated, extra-terrestrial encounters involving dangerous science experiments; their powers have elemental underpinnings; they both have maskless costumes composed of the omnipresent "Unstable Molecule Fabric" (UMF) Marvel knows and loves. Heck, they both sport Franklin Richards, even. Of course, if you want to line up the members, you've got a couple of different options. The teams' personalities and powers don't quite match up the same way.



    "Reed, don't tell me: you invented super munchkins"
    The most recently released cover for the new Power Pack mini gives a fairly accurate match up of FF to PP on the personality scale. Alex and Reed are both science nerds, Julie and Sue both maternal forces in the group, Jack and Johnny each team's respective hothead. Katie and Ben might be the hardest connection to make, but when you come right down to it, that works, too: they're both sweet souls with quick tempers (and the power to back those tempers up). Of course, Katie has a little better excuse when it comes to tantrums.

    If you take the kids at their powers, though, things line up a little differently. Katie's is the fiery power, and like Johnny, her body takes on the appearance of radiant energy when she uses it. The gravity power (especially given Simonson's choice to limit its range to touch) is effectively super-strength--The Thing's ... er, thing. While she doesn't stretch, Julie's super-speed flight gives her the longest "reach" of the team.



    (From Power Pack #28. Art by Terry Shoemaker and Hilary Barta. Words by Louise Simonson)
    All of which means, yes, much as I'm sure the revelation would destroy Jack's self-esteem, he totally has the closest power relationship with "The Chick." Both of their powers are those with the stealth applications. Both wound up developing secondary powers that were more offensive than their original abilities. Heck, both The Invisible Woman and Mass Master are the characters whose powers require UMF costumes to work well: Jack can't change the density of his regular clothes, so without UMF, he's pretty much Naked Superhero Boy. If I recall correctly, Sue used to have similar issues (um, with her powers working on clothes, not with being a naked boy). I remember reading an FF story where she turned invisible, but her dress didn't, and she had to shed it in order to actually avoid detection (she was sporting a UMF costume underneath, much to many a fanboy's dismay, I'm sure).

    None of which is meant to declare Power Pack "The Fantastic Heart of the Teen Young Four." For all that these kids harken back to Marvel's first family, I think those similarities are archetypal rather than intentionally derivative. Louise Simonson certainly took advantage of those similarities, but the book's FF connection seems to me far more of a "spin in" than a "spin off," a logical, organic merging of sympathetic elements rather than a forced association. The fact is, the good FF / PP pairings played most strongly on the differences between the groups (especially when it came to Franklin) rather than their similarities. Commonalities bring them together, but it's the differences that make for good storytelling.

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